The Washington Wizards will be without one of their best players when they pick back up in Orlando in the NBA's restart.
Sharpshooter Davis Bertans will not play in order to prevent injury before he hits free agency, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news Monday morning.
The Wizards have eight regular season games planned with the potential for the playoffs, but with a big payday near and two ACL tears in his past, Bertans is taking extra precaution. And by doing so, he will forego his prorated salary for the rest of the season.
So far, he is the only Wizards player to make that choice, NBC Sports Washington was told. The deadline for players to opt out is June 24.
Bertans, 27, is set to be an unrestricted free agent this fall. The Wizards have every intention of keeping him and can use his Bird Rights to exceed the salary cap with his next contract.
The Wizards are permitted to sign a replacement player to take Bertans' roster spot. It would have to be a minimum contract and only for the stretch-run of the remainder of this season.
Bertans' season is cut short with him only 24 threes away from the franchise single-season record. He shot 42.4 percent on 8.7 attempts from long range this year.
The Wizards' path to the playoffs will now be more difficult. They are 5 1/2 games out of the eighth spot, needing to get within four to force a play-in tournament. Doing so without their best shooter and second-best scorer will not be easy.
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